Berlin: The EU`s security commissioner warned Tuesday that Europe must be prepared for a new influx of Islamic State jihadists if Iraqi forces retake the group`s stronghold of Mosul.
"The retaking of the IS` northern Iraq stronghold, Mosul, may lead to the return to Europe of violent IS-fighters," Julian King told Die Welt daily in remarks published in German.
He said even a handful of jihadists returning would pose a "serious threat that we must prepare ourselves for".
Iraqi forces are advancing in an offensive aimed at retaking Mosul and dealing a death blow to the IS group`s "caliphate" in the city where it was declared two years ago.
Some 30,000 federal forces are leading the offensive, backed by air and ground support from a 60-nation US-led coalition, in what is expected to be a long and difficult assault on IS`s last major Iraqi stronghold.
The jihadists have suffered a string of territorial defeats this year in both countries, and the retaking of Mosul would all but end their presence in Iraq as a land-holding force.